AG: AlexGaluzin

Experiments in Level Design + Environment Art & Photography

What I Learned from My First DSLR Time-Lapse

February 19, 2021

I've completed my first successful time-lapse with Canon 60D DSLR.

Time-lapse needs to have movement, something changing over a period of time. Moving clouds, traffic, time of day, water, people etc.

It was a cold, windy day in Florida. Thick clouds were moving quickly across the sky and I setup my camera to capture it.

There are a lot of things you have to keep track of to create a time-lapse. Everything has to be set to manual. The aperture, the shutter speed, the ISO, focus and white balance. There can NOT be any changes within each image.

Now the way time-lapse works with DSLR is you take hundreds of images in a continuing sequence, every X amount of seconds.

For example, you take an one image every 5 seconds for 30 minutes. This gives you 12 image every minute and over 30 minutes, 360 images. Then if you create a movie out of these images at 24 frames per second you will have 15 second time-lapse.

The settings for this time-lapse:

  • 24mm lens w/neutral density filter
  • f/6.3
  • 1.6 sec
  • ISO 400

I setup up the camera to take one image every 5 seconds at 1.6 second exposure. At the end I had 415 images. I rendered a movie using these images at 24 frames per second and had a time-lapse of 17 seconds.

I used Davinci Resolve to combine the images to create the time-lapse.

Another important thing I learned is to include some immovable object in the frame such as architecture.

When doing a time-lapse you'll often increase shutter speed to 1 or more seconds. In this case it was very windy and clouds were moving fast. If I only shot the clouds, then it might look blurry if there were no point of reference of some immovable object. The only thing I had available to me at this spot were the fence, house and electric pole.

I am very happy how it turned out and looking forward to doing another one.

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